January is School Board Recognition Month. It is a time to shed a spotlight on elected school board members statewide and to show appreciation for their voluntary dedication and service.
School boards are responsible for oversight of education. Members are elected by constituents in defined areas. Some are initially be appointed to fill an unexpired term.
Boards have a checklist of responsibilities, which includes hiring and evaluating the superintendent, reviewing and approving annual budgets and collaborating with the superintendent to develop policies.
Real Estate professional Christy Stanley has been serving on the board of education at Canadian Valley Technology Center since 2016. Stanley, 54, of Yukon, said she was attracted to helping people in nearby communities.
“I am very passionate about the families in Canadian County,” she said. “And I loved the thought of playing a small part in helping young people succeed.
“I love hearing the stories of the students who have graduated from the program and gone on to be successful. They almost always attribute a portion of their success to an instructor at CV Tech who inspired them or pushed them to reach their potential.”
Board members are not paid. Three men and two women represent five equal population zones across CV Tech’s 1,500-square mile district area, from Piedmont south to Rush Springs and Bethany west to Calumet.
School boards also approve an annual calendar and help make decisions regarding maintaining or expansion of facilities. They must also work with the superintendent on topics, such as safety, discipline and resources for classrooms.
Besides the time commitment, persons seeking to become school board members or those wishing to remain members might be required to campaign for a seat. This can result in personal costs for producing campaign signs or advertisements.
Challenges can arise. Stanley said CV Tech school board’s clearest obstacle over the next decade will be meeting the growing demands for career education.
“Our district is growing rapidly, and it’s difficult to keep up with that growth,” she said. “More and more people are recognizing the educational value CV Tech provides.”
Stanley said additional programs will be required, and she is confident school officials will help identify the best options to serve area communities.
CV Tech’s board of education also includes Jimmie Vickrey, a farmer and rancher from Minco, who has served since 2004.
Both Penny Jones, a Mustang homemaker, and Dean Riddell, a mortgage lender from Yukon, have served since 2018. Dennis Crawford, a retired CV Tech employee, is an Alex cattle rancher and school bus driver. He has been serving since 2021.
Roughly 500 traditional school districts statewide are served by nearly 2,700 school board members, according to information supplied by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. The organization provides mandated board member professional development for topics including ethics, open meetings and finance.
CV Tech opened in 1970 with a mission to prepare people to succeed through full-time career education, short-term topical courses and business development. The publicly funded school has campuses in Chickasha, El Reno and Yukon.